Monday, November 12, 2012

Dryer Sheets and Walk-throughs: How Asking the Right Question Gets You the Answer You Want

It's silly really how home life and school life co mingle like a crazy 'ol pretzel covered in salt and mustard.
(I think I'm snacky!)
"What the heck does a pretzel have to do with dryer sheets?"
(I can hear you talkin' ...patience Grasshopper...the lesson is coming!)
No this isn't some kind of crazy notion in my head. Really I learned a funny lesson this week. Well really it's a carry over from last week. No really from about 8 years ago.
(See, all twisty turny like a  pretzel and I'm getting to the dryer sheets already!)
Well, this weekend my dear husband was washing some laundry and from across the house I hear him ask, "Hey, do you have a box of dryer sheets hiding anywhere?"
(I am a lucky woman...he does laundry... and he kills mice and big bugs too!)
"Nope, I haven't made the Wal-mart run!" I bellowed back. "Ohsey, wellsey, just throw the clothes in the dryer." Well, a while later he comes into our room and throws a pile of nice, warm, fresh smelling darks onto our bed for me to fold and hang up. I start to pull the clothes apart and what do I hear? Yep, snap, crackle, pop!
(I wished for a second that it was dark in the room so as I could have enjoyed the light time!)
But anyway I tell him, "You know there is a bottle of Downy in there you could have used in the rinse cycle."
"You didn't tell me that." he says and of course I said back in my best teacher voice, "You need to ask the appropriate question in order to elicit the correct response." He's a teacher too so I can get away with sarcastical remarks like that. (Sometimes...did I mention that he kills rats for me...I gotta watch it!)

Anyway, this is what I learned about asking the right questions.
Last week our school started the first of a series of walk-throughs. All grade levels will be released for a time to go in to other classrooms and our job is to question the students to see if we are hitting the target when it comes to Common Core Standards and Depth of Knowledge Levels.
(Teacher talk for, do the kiddos know what they are learning and why they are learning it)
Through-out the walk-through, I kept on hearing my friend Debbie's voice saying to me, "When talking to kids ask the question three times and you'll get the real story." At the time she was talking about getting the real story out of bickering kindergartners but I took heed and have applied it to my students and my own children.  
Kiddos are multi-faceted. They don't show what they know only one way. Some children draw it out. Some will only share with their bestest friends and some will give you a 5 page dissertation and 15 minute spiel on what they are learning. Our job is to give them multiple opportunities and different avenues to share what they may already know and how their new learning can and will impact their lives. It may look messy, sound noisy, look busy, but it is the best way to get the real story out of them. Ask a lot of questions and have fun with it. You may catch yourself giggling at some of their responses!

So, whattaya waiting for?



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